How ASCs can harness the power of patient choice

Understanding how to capitalize on the "power of patient choice" is critical for ASCs to stay in business, according to Joy Taylor, JD, COO of Axion Spine & Neurosurgery in Alpharetta, Ga.

Ms. Taylor joined Becker's to discuss which ASCs will win in their markets in the next five years. 

Editor's note: This interview was edited lightly for brevity and clarity. 

Question: Which ASCs will win in their market in the next five years?

Ms. Taylor: The ASCs that will win in their market in the next five years are those that understand that it’s not just about your costs, the number of procedures you do, or even the type of procedures you do. You can’t rise to the top of your market without being mindful of what you get paid per procedure. Having a balanced and profitable payer mix is critical to the success of any healthcare venture. We are in the business of caring for patients, but we can’t do that if we can’t stay in business.

Part of mastering that is capitalizing on the power of patient choice. Ensuring patients have your center on their radar, and that they have a positive experience they want to share with others afterward, will drive patients to you whose payments will cover your costs and fuel profits. We believe that marketing directly to patients, as well as to providers, helps them understand their options. Then, you just have to make sure you’re the obvious choice!

Q: How would you describe ASCs' role in the healthcare landscape?

JT:  As those paying for healthcare understand, the increasing viability and breadth of ASC procedures, the existing shift toward outpatient care will continue. But it's not just about payers — patients want choices, and they don't usually choose a hospital experience if they have other options. The convenience, as well as both the actual and the perceived ease, of pulling up to an ASC and hopping out is pretty huge. Most patients also report the customer service levels to be higher at ASCs than in hospitals, and that is a tremendous driver as well. The cherry on top is that the patient's financial responsibility is almost always lower.

And speaking of making choices, many surgeons and proceduralists find that their turnaround is tighter and their overall experience is massively improved by doing their cases in an ASC. The value of their time is magnified, and that is a physician's most important asset.

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